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Parents of dead girl question hospital’s care

Mayo General Hospital

Parents question care in Mayo General following daughter’s sudden death

Anton McNulty

The parents of a 19-year-old Lithuanian woman who died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) in Mayo General Hospital believe their daughter’s life could have been saved if hospital staff had diagnosed her symptoms earlier.
Justina Kriaciunatie of 6 Ard Rua, Claremorris died in the early hours of November 10, 2010 after suffering a heart attack while in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital. Ms Kriaciunatie had been admitted into Mayo General Hospital (pictured) on November 9 at approximately 9.30pm after falling ill in her home.
Earlier in the day, she had attended her GP after complaining of a ‘pain in her tummy’ and later complained of not getting enough air and not being able to breath.
However, hospital records showed that there was no recorded complaints of her having breathing difficulties when she was admitted and that she had only complained of pain in her abdomen and the working diagnosis was of peptic ulcer decease.
Her parents, Inga and Valdas Kriaciunatie told her inquest which is taking place in Castlebar Court House that they had received a text from their daughter in the hospital after midnight saying that everything was fine and that they were thinking of letting her go from the hospital on November 10.
However, she fell seriously ill at approximately 5.45am and went into cardiac arrest after receiving treatment for a clot in the lung in ICU. Despite over 30 minutes of CPR there was no response and she died at 8.45am.
Mr and Mrs Kriaciunatie said there seemed to be nothing done for her until after 7am and expressed their concern that she was allowed to deteriorate after arriving in the hospital.
“Our concern is that Justina was in Castlebar General Hospital from 9.30pm the night before she died. We cannot understand why her symptoms were not diagnosed earlier and why a healthy girl would die so quickly. We do not want this to happen to any other family and we are very concerned about the treatment given to our daughter,” they said through an interpreter.
The post mortem performed after her death found that Ms Kriaciunatie died of heart failure due to a ‘rare condition’ called myocarditis which is regarded as one of the causes of SADS.
Dr Muhammad Memon, who was Locum Consultant Physician at MGH at the time told the inquest that Ms Kriaciunatie was admitted with severe abdominal pain but was not presenting any complaints of increasing shortness of breath or chest complaint at the time.
He explained that after her condition worsened she complained of abdominal pain and on examination her chest was clear and no abnormal heart sound was heard. The Medical Registrar Dr Montasir Bashary was contacted as her condition deteriorated and she was transferred to ICU at 7am.
While in ICU, she was treated for a clot in the lung and she was intubated after her breathing became more laboured. Ms Kriaciunatie received clot-bursting treatment which did not improve her condition and she went into cardiac arrest.
Under questioning from Ms Rita Kilroy BL for the Kriaciunatie family, Dr Memon said he was not present until Ms Kriaciunatie went into cardiac arrest but from reading the reports he said there were no concerns for her heart and he would not have done anything different.
The inquest heard that Dr Bashery was replaced by Dr Florrie Daniels at 7am and Ms Kilroy said that from the family’s point of view they were concerned that when their daughter was dying ‘the baton was passed’ to Dr Daniels who was ‘coming in cold’ to a ‘potential catastrophic situation’.
Dr Memon said that Dr Bashery left because of a family reason but that doctors are trained to react to a situation very quickly. The inquest is expected to hear from 20 witnesses and is expected to conclude today (Tuesday) or tomorrow.